Skip to main content
1:10 pm
work also documented in the world of the happened ranging from the plays to the social description of the experienced george foster. i learned something of a european background subjected myself to read being much more than i could ever care to remember include the ladies of paris coming up to the episodic new york slums it is superior but the paper never quite came together i've wandered about to the grubs street potboiler and once the seminar was over but where i gave up david
1:11 pm
working wait out there in an end berkeley that made sense of it and then when dawn to right to the american renaissance. it took someone with his own literary imagination and training to see entire world's that they could barely touch but i raised this old but not entirely flattering story to make two observations where it came from. first the useful scholarly interests were part of an entire generation of critics we wanted to write the undiscovered history of slaves and farmers and everyone else of a relatively short trip we came from a variety of angles.
1:12 pm
to be a marxist humanism particularly influential in my circles although finding comic inspiration not just through the american renaissance but also american history of the beef the idea of the fundamental liberal consensus but aviation driven by the imperative of middle-class striving. we were looking for ourselves. or the history not so much useful for lessons of the future but to us from the past of which we felt alienated then to call our own as familiar. and some of us now on what we were looking for an long
1:13 pm
forgotten political movements or struggles for the vast majority of the population written entirely ignore the history of african-americans or women. much settled down into its own intellectual roots which now dominate the study of the american past to replace the orthodoxy that america's best of the gender and class to give the revisionist efforts of all time marxist dissent. is impossible to understand the renaissance outside of this context and history. but it is deeply impossible to understand outside of david's decision to connect the new social and literary history with the figures of american literature. this is not the universal impulse of the time. much of the iconoclastic
1:14 pm
scholarship divorce itself from a recognized political and literary grades receive the most vulgar expression is not right out right hostility says if the white european male and dead was a mark of malice at the very least duplicity of the imperial compression of the world's masses. the way it moves to rediscover those or hidden from history. not enact of demonization the no small part of the culture wars white -- sprang from the shift but my point has to do with davis decisions to return to said great writers that might be the greatest phase. to eliminate their work of said john neil and others.
1:15 pm
david did not praise them in lieu of or expense of the high. of what political history has known as the cold of true radicalism. with the penitentiary of academic theory with the brace class and gender to have their remarkable act of integration that did not collapse into categories of high diabolo -- and low but one out of the other. above and beyond the imagination of the great writers of the renaissance alex of popular breaking in general. of previous the ignoring or dismissing the treatise. one testimony of david's work and fell whole panel is
1:16 pm
right here working from very different places to understand every level of the past but with a decent respect of the higher strata of art, culture, politics. out what level explored the issues that make sense of american literature and as distinct as any other. in his or her own way to crack open new ways of strange american culture including culture as it has been on display over the last two weeks better than i can explain. [laughter] of culture of juxtaposition juxtaposition, liaison, ende avors of all the archetypes tragic, but even that the brothers have come close to elaborate.
1:17 pm
[laughter] with the same candor i looked at days i suppose i find the john browne is less weird day and walt whitman. but to david b. l. the enormous debt just as how we cannot understand american weirdness without understanding the great writers they are inexplicable with that american weirdness. thank you. [applause] >> i am not next. [laughter] >> good afternoon it is a privilege and a pleasure to be here. thank you to david to invite
1:18 pm
me and include me on this panel. i begin by saying i have the deep set contempt for the flyby, irritating borderline consulting practice of pledging to give a talk say a few things ben bolt for the door with a pressing in engagement when i was the president here i pledged not to do that and i never did figure i begin with the apology for saying a few words then bolting for the door we are in the midst of budget season and there are several ongoing issues that need to be resolved before a meeting with the department on monday and tuesday so i hope you will excuse my reduce and chalked it up to a desire to make certain cell lights stay on in people's checks don't bounce
1:19 pm
[laughter] that i am here briefly to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the american renaissance a more broadly david's extraordinary work and career. it is a privilege than a pleasure to do both. he asked me to say a few words that would contextualized within the trajectory of criticism and i am happy to do so. let me begin by turning to 1888 in the american public's interest but they keep 41 of publication of the american renaissance the expression of walt whitman and that a book as most of you will though is remarkable for many things but not the least of which is setting the american can and that there is little place for the of curriculum
1:20 pm
that can invent british works of literature written primarily before 1900. always pressing against that the first book was against -- about sarah and this was about t.s. eliot along who had a sentimental space of that literary canon of 1941. the list of great writers is circumscribed emerson, whitman, white male traders that traded in the of physical forth the metaphysical and to signal a course was the separate but equal status of american cultural history that of britain that simultaneously laid claim to be autonomous nationalism is shakespeare for and milton id nantucket.
1:21 pm
croissant's was inflicted by his leftist politics and of the 30's and gave me and at cambridge that it paves to reconcile his faith with socialist principles and a critic writing cultural history. no wonder the the account between 1850 and 1855 seeks reconciliation at every turn the american past and present find common ground and universal themes emerge that please me turn to. madison's frontis peace the first edition of american renaissance is remarkable as the builder of the flying cloud that choice seems to be of the vision and reveals
1:22 pm
the type of character of which the riders were most concerned the common man in his role with stature war as called me and in the open air. madison was caught up in the cold war politics that followed the 1947 in to regenerate the corrupted part of europe. added to forge by new world circumstance in novices experience of cold war politics targeted for his socialist politics in the harvard teachers' union counted by anti-communist zealots that may or may not have contributed to his suicide in 1950.
1:23 pm
the note he left said i am depressed over world conditions in and questioned as a socialist i am against any order that interferes with that objective. the thrust of his methodology informed criticism throughout the two decades that followed his death but then to think of the american and adam and part of the american novel the machine of the garden is a dozen others to define the historicism of the time each predicate did their reading of the american past of the identification of a national identity. frequently at odds the american studies programs earth you funded by the cia
1:24 pm
with then determining levers of the psyche that was interrupted by the rise of syria in 1968 that sean just brilliantly describes. but to challenge the fundamental assumptions with the design of unities the privileging of the true a and universal as did we all look for ourselves. no longer a stable identity but objects of interrogation demonstrating said take gold workings of power. with shell wholly trilogy of the day to introduce new
1:25 pm
writers of chronology to american literature steady to root explode the notions. and then with literary text rather of them realized beauty was a dominant concern in with that revolution and the word before the purposes today to historicism analysis center around representation as you know, that cultural journal founded by tv 83 -- in 1983 vita university press and to distinguish the work on the basis of power and endless xing sand crossings old
1:26 pm
historicism and tried to put the background a and the foreground twisted to the exercise it was of meeting of high a literature in the new historicism emphasize conflict as dissidents. it with the great men of history. with the of battles of social movements aoun's the history of the text and interaction -- intellectual history with the assumptions of the school of thought. the authorized to have stabilized constructive character of the historical record. of into embrace the radical that at times pointed to use
1:27 pm
the quagmire. but the most accomplished failed out long before the deadhead to recognize skepticism did not require a plunge into new the of meaninglessness thursday our cars a description of overlapping of the counts in stories just describing critics produced read the news that reanimated the consciousness glimmering new objects of desire but even with these remarkable books it is figured as contained as the object of the subject of discourse and historians wrestle with the plot to wrestle from the prison house language in the formulation contained was invoked again and again and
1:28 pm
again and again to the point of self parody that never made fully clear what some version maybe the other than the recognition of containment. but coulter as supplied by eight anthropologist and tears into the equation for these writers' criticism was understood as cultural practices within which thought and feeling might be recognized and interrogated. but still pervasive was how privileged it baby they're no threat to power the subversion is already contained. injured david reynolds of the subversive imagination in the age of and everson it is capitulated did his title and subtitle and and also as of nod to smith with his commitment to great works
1:29 pm
focus of a tightly space of time and with the exception of emily dickinson provides common thread aaron purpose with the nationalistic impulse cover the great work of art between high and low at the same time to complicate that monolithic understanding brilliantly. looking like historicism in with that formalism on in spirit of the age the belief in the historical frame that is all there but the premise both the acknowledges in challenges negative in his words in the first half of this century with the strategy a popular tax.
1:30 pm
many different kinds we lose the equivalency to be covered by radical infusion. receive matt mysteries in humor and novels in the connected the social groundings of far more important with those aspects that is either the of moderate set in opposition to the recuperating urge with all human efforts to speak outside the cage and all fronts that are signified best journalistic science lacks reliable reference.
1:31 pm
of both popular and high literary culture to be the tumultuous commissioned of the virgin and modes of thought in the in antebellum period a and choreographed the three stretches completely. rather than read the the high renaissance to read those as burst by wide popular writing immediately with the perceived reality the results with the political point of view to reanimate the of the blind alley. and then the first instance with the social engagement
1:32 pm
of the practice but he does so while incorporating and modified critical forms. john browne did jacksonian america did each marked with the hard work of three big it always a pleasure to engage david on the page and each book richly informs the sense of their subjects collectively and david i am grateful for your work and a remarkable career that continues with undiminished vigor. thank you very much and i apologize for my departure. [applause] >> first things first
1:33 pm
congratulations i think the more remarkable thing that is beneath the amazon since it is 25 years ago you cannot have the willingness to stop and let people catch up with you. this aspiring personally and it takes great courage. as a student to eagerly struggling coverley african writing i was surprisingly id shockingly interested to the most privileged objects of my chosen field. there is no particular taste of what is known as literature and although i have become aware of and fascinated by the slave narrative newspapers plays or poetry or novels of which had been produced between 1827 when slavery ended in
1:34 pm
the your stay in the first african-american and a newspaper published 1860 with the beginning of the civil war. not interested in literature because i am not certain they have attached to them what distinguishes the son of a literary from the literary. with the exception of frederick douglass narrative no work by the african-american writer published could be said at that time under the rubric of american literature. the narrative sarandon the renaissance the way we have defined its to surround it is so riddled that they tend
1:35 pm
to limit possibilities for exciting work of literary and cultural studies. the study of which we are all familiar 8053t60 the literary imagination and the scarlet letter "moby dick" appeared in rapid succession to represent the maturation physically the american literary or cultural the leak to build upon the great walls german literature to which they had better exposed while representing the peculiarities and resistance to tradition to provide american culture. the problem was this conception of culture and history was dole and full of errors. generations were to have
1:36 pm
less of a living taxed the in the talisman before also by beating the energy object to broadcast what message the standing reality of american genius. [laughter] i am not stunned by american genius. [laughter] sometimes i am but as the conception of literature proves to be only marginally experimental those working with some of literary artifacts that efforts were a magic and to add to a knowledge saddled with ugly names like history or sociology in anthropology
1:37 pm
and cultural studies. waldegrave remained -- littery remained fall old novels i continued to assume that literary studies is from dole's rejection and exception. american literature of an 18th-century projects most still known as emily dickinson with the possible exception of frederick douglass and beneath the american renaissance to say though lyons share of the wrist and religious writings off sensationalist journalism remains today under examined by scholars of american literature. one of the discouraging
1:38 pm
reality is is the general lack of proper funding for those perfectly prepared with consumption of the ill-defined bracketed becomes difficult for them to devote themselves to the identification and retrieval but have not been identified already as literary and therefore digestible with their frigid institutions. although we give service to promiscuity it is nonetheless still the case to train students and higher colleagues of inadequate categories of literature and the literary. reading david reynolds in
1:39 pm
1991 in a dark apartment had the effect of turning one already grouch year. i had realized ready to fiercely maintained the divide but the the work that interested me was to demonstrate the facility but that was certainly the case but many students were right-wing serviceable visitation on emerson or her dickenson that these individuals were much more complex -- complex the what could be properly explained even the most expensive of
1:40 pm
the department of english. what i did not realize however was the regionalization of american in the literary studies part of a much more insidious practice that allowed us to of skier the charged for which we distinguished literary text largely because of my exposure that i became fascinated by a.d. instrumental meeting of taste and culture are adjudicated beneath the american resonance leaves it to the 1993 study of cultural capital of canada information in the judge reductase stand later reconstructing woman hundred lives black reconstruction and.
1:41 pm
the most important for me was a series of decrees adjustive interventions by stuart hall of culture is in politics is particularly the relevance of gracie of death as a i think we're the only vehicle that have read. they encourage all of you to look at that as a dominance. but i was well on my way to be reasonable scholar of literature but then this happened. [laughter] but his work was the unlikely part of the wobbly apparatus that was constructing of what i believe the so-called literature with the american
1:42 pm
university. the case of the material to be chiefly interested of the form i am opposed to the concept of literature and the literary. it is obviously barred with us desire to recognize talent and inspiration with of a desire to you maintain for judkins with the human knowledge. the punchline for me is beneath the american renaissance has the effect to destabilize the apparatus and i do believe one of the
1:43 pm
things that happened with david is they established a basis with the questions with which we are dealing now. the most well-known of writers through literary forms of the text that forced to reexamine how the process of canonization this literary that still seems necessary. but not on the is the notion highly suspect that this of the disciplinary fields is questionable to be. i know the works that is happening in to never been
1:44 pm
fully integrated with the american literature. it is always understood of to progressions out once. it cannot sustain feat attitude to be discreetly american or peculiar literary but beneath the american renaissance shown to be perched but of the one hand this country's critics were fascinating for those you demonstrated the conception of man had a limited history that began with great ostentation of
1:45 pm
the to find itself embarrassing a threadbare. on the other hand, the intervention of people of color and feminist and racial to radicalize the of members of the communities with the conquest of resistance with the american intellectual. is dominant. but have proven vibrant in relation with the committed assumptions. i could muster the energy as others are with university
1:46 pm
administrators but that is so light that the humanities they've got to do that anymore. [laughter] is the money. [laughter] but we did not create. that david battles not only demonstrates the literature and culture but those you are willing to do some digging but also profoundly effective intellectual consumption and exclusion of every day practices but as consequence has the understanding of what often has a limited understanding of society.
1:47 pm
we ought to be careful we're not against cutting off from practices that are distasteful. i still have a little questions if i believe there is the american renaissance but i will leave that but nobody wants to hear it but not billed as well as we might have but to save more precisely to broaden the range of text with the departments of literature with the privileges are extremely limited with individuals of the criticism. compared to that of 25 years
1:48 pm
ago you are likely to find alarmist rhetoric that it has changed but not in radical ways. although i said i don't like literature i've loved to the live with it to retreat to its like bad neighbors with garbage on the sidewalk but i will say it becomes more difficult to see but works of art has been deemed to literary that method to become more restrictive. i will leave with a suggestion the legacy is it forces us to recognize much of what we do specifically is disciplinary specifically and in some ways to
1:49 pm
discipline the study is. but it does not have demographics in the air the years not only have the sheer number of literary texts expanded exponentially but what constitutes literature being called into question. thank you. [applause] >>. [laughter] you came back? first of all, as everyone had said it is a great honor to be here with this surprising occasion because as you have already heard, the importance of david reynolds of the american renaissance enterprising to me i am
1:50 pm
shocked at asmodeus to five years have passed from if first appearing. and the last person to speak so i will take a little bit of liberty to talk more personal terms of the great human blasting contribution. that i have heard a lot of this already but david reynolds says what was named to just two years after the appearance of the high agent the note. with a controversial exhibit at the museum of modern art with the comic-book character. reynolds proceeded visit
1:51 pm
with his own investigation and i quote of literary works through the exploration of a broader way of social and imaginative text not a hearing to use the theory of the literary and conscious to poke through the books such as "moby dick" or "the scarlet letter" but it demonstrated how with competing values systems with popular culture the rich material that was adapted in the work but what another way the political and domestic you're not estranged from one another that was not one of q box convention but rife of sexy
1:52 pm
and strife and anchor populated by women and gestures for trial reports in newspapers along with uplifting or apocalyptic sermons. belief the renaissance the of large world excavated with terrific energy. there is nothing think you're wagging it is in its examination and of the perceived and forgotten and not polemics or at least not anymore they and whitman before the leaves of grass that the proof of poet is the country of source him. said david randall set to as the tasks the poet tussles with the world with other of
1:53 pm
literary critics that writers transform. to take one example the lip smacking reverential it with literature from the scarlett letter and dickenson as reynolds writes adapted damages of the of literature of misery. to provide stylistically with a vengeance. this much you have heard with the american renaissance closed a critical gap of reverend joel criticism in which chad were, the one hand to was hailed as transcendent and on the other placed in the social history with said it
1:54 pm
and here is the cacophony of chatter. for be beneath the american renaissance had fresh air into the rigid walls which they already partly love to although i never before it did not care much about biography in the community of lebed whose lives it is usual by t. did not fall within the contentious cubes of academic criticism because mattel i read a dirty for the renaissance to place for what had already become of old-fashioned much derided the literary history.
1:55 pm
those as what they recalled at that time with a collective review of scholarship was political and of the project was a systematic under binding of the cold war consensus like the american renaissance. interrogating what america of its demand to hoover as well as the literary canon it was said to his store assist distinct that cleaved literature from one bill ball context from cultural codes with the resisted ideologies and rescind "the reader" of that text. the without neglecting with ho reynolds was familiar
1:56 pm
sights loved the battle lines drawn by that to strike out a different direction. it if we look at the subsequent writing i am thinking of his. >> host: teeeight america in the times it begins with the remark it is easier for critics to theorize of history but that said rebels further explains he intends to overcome piecemeal approaches to his literary history by reconstructing the life and times of america's representative paul witt and at the close of the book that by a 43 his time than one reynolds explores is precisely the
1:57 pm
terms sam process that entails there is the life story of an artist infused with cultural history as a for the first drive. wallet bids america and not only places the soprano or p.t. barnum but also sentenced to the killing fields where he would walk where the wounded and washington review board to the death of abraham lincoln. it shows how whitman did not duck the question how he fashioned his own celebrated with how they dissented
1:58 pm
future johnson who he thought a good man that rather be schaede -- rutherford b. hayes. but then said i have contradicted. but then to soak up his * no way he tried to make his country of sorghum. this cultural biography demonstrates the consideration and raised the bid beefy renaissance anticipate the america that are a visible and workable. not only does it raise the question of what literary criticism is it raises the same questions regarding the form such literary criticism can take. so with a certain low-key assertion and then a
1:59 pm
cultural biography. and then the way that respects to go so far to suggest in 1985 of the term cultural biography was considered in the academy as the stepchild of history and the embarrassing cousin of literary or other criticism regressive without a theoretical foundation. . . of individualism.
2:00 pm
and of course biographies up to the first and is not very passé. recently praising stanley crouch's new book, "new york times" reviewer says it's not about getting his knees dirty, routing around in all tax bills all folders and yellowing box office was use. he's about aesthetics and ideas. that is under the purview of biographies, the individual stands tall either aesthetics or ideas should exist. history is merely teleological -- a teleological and noble collection of vested documents. hence the need for cultural biography reasonably defend such naïve assumptions for as reynolds implicitly points out implicitly, after and because of the american renaissance about whitman and john brown and
2:01 pm
harriet beecher's outcome on biography like the best humanistic criticism is highbridge ingres. part history, part sociology, participate analysis, part recovery, targeting one needs duty. david has tracked literature and impulse of its makers and the complex traces of it production. he's not in the house of the art of the school under the bed and in the closet when the discord refuge, placards, newspapers, quick and daybook and the metaphors and medicine cabinet and propaganda to be sure last to place the mongoose these products and practices. at the set or table in the london money streets of washington and the backstreet
2:02 pm
during the consecutive non-bureau. aesthetics and personal choice, converge in such mundane matters if cold water bath, davy crockett manuals, and in chronology spiritualism, harriet wilson's book called the record of crime in the united states. here, history is all around us forever out of reach perhaps just beneath the polished their face but going forward on that race, which is where we're always going and which beneath the american renaissance and beyond it, david reynolds cogently and brilliantly asks us to recognize and to relish and to remember as if perhaps for the first but not surely for the last time. thank you. [applause]
2:03 pm
>> thanks so much. i want to thank the university of new york and chancellor bill bill -- bill kelly and also the others in it including the english student association and appreciate her work all-out. english and american studies programs, revolutionizing studies and the humanity in guilderland and is the chair. i thank you all for coming out today. i welcome our c-span audience as well and our western audience. i am truly humbled to be up here with a net, robert, sean and linda. scholars who have so the road to the american renaissance.
2:04 pm
the poetry written in the breaking god. do what was not meant to be read in the bathroom. last night last night looking back, and will percolate in the 70s. that's a long time ago. i took a seminar for one of the pioneers of the americans that these. i previously studied with real marks and henry smith. reread a number of once popular tax that aroused my curiosity by the vast terrain of unfamiliar items in the were about the
2:05 pm
philadelphia novelist george the park. all this led led to my fourth book, beneath american renaissance in which a show at the energy popular culture infiltrated every since hawthorne, dickinson and others have alienated from their society. i found the richness of their works out much to their extraordinary openness to the often experimental and adventurous american popular culture around them. in the years i was writing in literary theory was much remain between disciplines and evolving. although i solved the spirit, i was alarmed by the human agency that the move often involved speculation about the death of the author by brenda is code
2:06 pm
notion of that the function often yielded criticism in which the author with the click it altogether. by moving beneath the american renaissance annihilator books was to reach across the disciplinary divide to social, cultural and political history to treat authors and others as people entangled in the actual discourse of their time. although one pointed out that shakespeare in the stay was that shakespeare. he was turning out well been excoriated as an upstart pro and the other birds feathers. a fair-minded readers they determine scratching about destroying family tried to escape his financial dependent the honest father-in-law by writing novels that are filled with popular, cultural images. emerson of the row as lecturers had a keen eye on their
2:07 pm
audiences and even as they meditated on philosophy, they are caught up in social issue this native american removal, walt whitman who emerged at a popular journalist tried to you a in poetry while he served as the writer of this problematic family. emily dickinson who had to deal with her uptight new england family fervently read newspapers and popular novels that provided images and scenes for her experimental poetry. these authors have the ability to respond creatively and thoughtfully to really surrounding it for them, coulter was not something out there in the margins. it is the universal essence that permeated the private space and the individual psyche. as emerson wrote, the idea of the time are in the air and affect all who present. we learn without effort almost
2:08 pm
to the poorest of our skin. the books i've written since then i'm people like whitman and john brown had taken me further into realms i began to explore on the gender race and slavery and it carried me into other areas, including politics and photography and graphic arts. i'm finding such phenomenon never operate in isolation. there was interact to create a new formation that affect individuals and help bring about social change. i've learned from several critical trends that have emerged since the first publication beneath the american renaissance in the yearly updates with american criticism that the bibliography of mine described one of the 20 different approaches to american literature, all of which i find port. on to briefly address these approaches. first, digital humanities.
2:09 pm
she do research beneath the american renaissance, i had to spend years of libraries, poring over old books and hapless newspapers. there's nothing to to replace an actual library and actual archive, especially since it's so revealing to examine works as physical artifacts. the availability are some of these rare books online for me and many others who join in the effort to weaken chart americas and other nations literary and cultural paths. another area where my approach intersects the current trend i think is what is being called the new formalism aren't aestheticism. the argument about how all bombs of cultural intertwined in our fashion by the creative imagination a corset that by the
2:10 pm
formalistic wind close reading with historicism, psychology and aesthetics. some might ask if literature is trained nationalist is national. i've been interested in the transnational global things for a long time but ever since they've been fiction meet the american renaissance in which i discussed the popularity and america's so-called oriental tales i discuss in a recent book cd, in print, cut in the europe relation to the u.s. having said that, since worked to keep in mind the unmistakable imprint this nation has placed to leave on a literary word. many works become close to achieving global status articles that are the most deeply saturated in the discourses of their own culture, discourses to gain unique perception of a filter through the individual creative imagination. they have words about a sinking ship. it's what could only be american peaks to the fact that "moby dick" with all its root and transatlantic writing trust
2:11 pm
bradley has many specifically american cultural phenomenon in the own experiences as a sailor. emerson with his dad in the european philosophy famously declared that american authors must chance our own time and circumstances. then it is a long list of beloved one and native american phenomenon. walt whitman brandished the fact effect of the absurd this nation so much so them in the very first of his three anonymously published newspapers, it must be nice to review your own books. anyway, very first line, and american bar to last. [laughter] here i. butter churn different national identities. what would ulysses be without discourses addresses higher than
2:12 pm
for the french provincial culture or virginia woolf and one bid for nigerian folklore. so the global which i heartily endorse, we can't forget the national personal origin that are essential features of many literary works no matter where they're at. i'm going to conclude with a few remarks about what the world that humanity is today. i was recently comparative literature for the keynote speaker suggested that in our increasingly technocratic pragmatic society, the humanities should go into a defensive bunker mode and make his case against sciences. ideas we should try to shake hands with science as a number of scholars do. besides dh can feel it offers
2:13 pm
science include eco-criticism, animal studies, disability studies in the field of literature and medicine. we live in a time in the humanities are under real threat i'm talking about the threat robert talked about. public funding for the humanities with/. defending beneath the american renaissance in other books that cathy's revolution in the work. as so many other books written under the fellowship is on the chopping block. both the nea and neh went out during the sat down. even now there kind of limping along and apparently are headed for big big flashing. we'll a fully recover ever? many americans the humanities is one of the first places to cut. so unless we humanists adapt to the current environment we may lose not only big verdes is that in in the last presidential race, but also some big votes that would otherwise have been
2:14 pm
possible through federal support. i believe we can combat the sideline and humanities they make in our batting title in viable to the larger world in whatever way possible and bring to bear the expense of vision that the humanities can offer and now more than others to challenge not only the arcane over specialization in academe, but also the narrowness of extremism that are all prevalent in america today. beneath the american renaissance at my other books is to try to represent the entire american experience from the grassroots up, including all varieties of writers to show how the most energetic forces and popular culture have been rechannel to refashion and timeless works of literature. thank you very much. [applause]
2:15 pm
>> i was going to say a few words, they forfeited that by coming late here would like to take questions. anything unlike say to one another? are you just waving? any questions you could state who you are. i.d. imac [inaudible]
2:16 pm
[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
2:17 pm
[inaudible] [laughter] [inaudible] [inaudible]
2:18 pm
[inaudible] [inaudible] [laughter] [inaudible] >> well, that is and what i was
2:19 pm
going to say. it is clear from all the things had to say why he was the perfect person to do that. get a clear sense of what she had to do in order to produce that were. that's the brilliance of the boat. his talent and recognizing the talent of other people in being able to bring that to the reader, make that clear to the reader. another question i? [inaudible] [inaudible]
2:20 pm
[inaudible] >> i don't know if the microphones are working. i think you need the american renaissance in the century and everything to be written, without necessarily even mentioning too much of what i mentioned. why? because to me, it is like an endless sea of energy. there is some of the other energies that are very, very important out there. i always encourage my students because a lot of people read at work and say well, you've covered everything. i say you know what melville said about life? the trillion part does not set.
2:21 pm
the trillion part has not been said. i mean, there is so much out there. brenda and i were talking about this with this online archive. there are thousands and thousands of newspapers and books online that can really, really help you reconstruct a culture. there's so much more work to be done. maybe brenda you can comment on this. >> , not directly. but as david was speaking, i began to think of the question of context that really speaks to what david is talking about and the energies of context and how context just appeared. even our attempt to my two examples that may not be many name to anybody who's under 30 here, but for those of you who aren't like myself, the two contacts are from teaching
2:22 pm
experiences that i had. once when i was teaching elizabeth bishop. i love elizabeth bishop. i love her poetry. the name of the palm was at the filling station. i'm sorry? latter. the name of the palm is at the filling station. one intrepid student raised his or her hand and said to me, what is a filling station? [laughter] bar recently, i was again teaching and i was talking about how some writers camino, different writers use different techniques, just in getting words on pages. some people use yellow sheet, longhand. some compose on the computer. i have a friend who uses only a smith corona electric and he has a whole warehouse and people
2:23 pm
know who he is in its rather well known. every time he mentions it, someone's sensitivities have corona electric. another student raised a hand to that, what is a smith corona electric? because i had had a smith corona electric typewriter. to me it is safe to name shock. [laughter] >> right, that's the point. that is in my own time and perhaps some of yours, you know, that the point. so if you just throw about 150 years, a thousand years come you imagine what his boss in just that of vernacular and one of the achievements of david's work and we talk about here are those energies coming in now, trying to find them and somehow relocate them and figure out what it was when there is a world where smith corona electric something.
2:24 pm
to me it was a big deal. here it was gone. it was obsolete. i'm sure we all have examples from our lifetime, birthday dissipate. >> i'm just going to -- i'll shout. >> i've always meant to ask you, about history and writing about authors, writers. i mean, john brown didn't write a whole lot. i've written, too. i was curious what your take was. is it different? it must be different. how is it different and how do you two is connected?
2:25 pm
>> that's a very good question. >> the people you're the question? >> writing about historical figures as opposed to writing about writers, in a way, msn and implemented by discourse theory the idea that all of our greens are influenced by out by discourse. ever since idea that the ideas seep through our skin, almost like air we breathe and almost without knowing it. today, that applies both to writers like walt whitman who had an especially broad array of feelers into his environment because even though he only went to school at age 11, he still was so curious about the world they do everything from chronology -- i mean, his poetry
2:26 pm
is repository. the 32nd only to shakespeare and the number of vocabulary words that he uses. for abraham lincoln as it has urkel figure who restores shakespeare because he hasn't sent curiosity about the world around him. he would really read shakespeare , shakespeare and also tell him a story that he heard. so for me, it not always that much different. john brown is someone -- it wasn't really his right recounted. this is worse when he was in prison. people kept reprinting john brown's words, if thinking how silly these words are. he rustica decipher but people appeared it kidding me?
2:27 pm
he's crazy. yet those were shot around the world. he said to john brown's speech was second only to the gettysburg address as the greatest american speech. sometime historical lack as themselves relinking really lives to last through his words, through the lincoln douglas debate, through the gettysburg address. to me, discourse is always fair, at least to some degree in the greatest of historical actors just as they are in writers. the difference with writers and the great geniuses is there even more comprehensive in their absorption of all these different discourses. walt whitman had everything from some racialism sentimentalism to chronology. you could go on and on defense issues, gender issues and in the effort seems to be unique.
2:28 pm
emerson once said a genius like shakespeare is the entire realm of experience. traverse the entire realm of experience and kind of bring everything into focus in a particular work of genius. he talks about shakespeare. he would rummage among the scraps of the old elizabetelizabet han plays. he would rummage around it. he got all these themes and characters and can beat them through symbols and through language and discourse that is organized. it seems to me the greatest writers like walt whitman and emily dickinson does the same thing as well. the command is very best does this as well, too. linking to me brings a different thing up, the rational, the
2:29 pm
lawyerly. i don't know how many he tried as a lawyer, but he uses this kind of almost mythic, e-mail, knowledge of the american experience in the principle behind what equality is what this kind of legal mind and ultimately the lincoln douglas debates. and then he has this ability also to condense, for example, the second inaugural, condense these very short pithy speech is the essence of the american principle. and so i think discourse is really important for both historical actors and for writers. >> lawyer in a storytelling. >> i have a question --
2:30 pm
[inaudible] >> i guess it could be said -- [inaudible] >> i think one of the things that can turn mean is that there is a real challenge to how we are established and the need
2:31 pm
particularly as a 21st century good. i agree, by the way that he seems to me we have strong arguments to make about what we actually can and cannot do. i am not certain those arguments can be based on an idea that we have to protect a tradition of literature that authority established. you can do that, but you have to do it in conjunction with the idea we are interested in the idea of what is literature and literary and we are not necessarily committed to making that distinction going forward. i don't know -- i really don't know that the majority but americans read a fiction of accounts is literature. therefore, there is a way which we often talk about us professionals in the field things that are far afield from what people are imagining fiction and poetry that is consumed by folks. i can do you certainly come any
2:32 pm
can be excited about the fact that what is concerned by folks are sitting next to the subway is often out what is taught and referred to in classrooms. you have to have some balance with that. also, a little bit for me has to do with archives. i want to say one thing about one of the things that really concerns me and especially today is really significant is archived in this country are in very an amazing amount of pressure. to the part of the way i think the logic of that works is the reason you say to extremely clever persons working on dissertation are very gifted scholar go to the archives is not simply because they're going to find great tax, but a lot of stuff that just never reaches the level of the myth they manage, "moby dick" or the scarlet letter. the scarlet letter never reached
2:33 pm
that point. those texts that have been hammered tonight. if the focus continues to be that way, the question about american culture it is, how you understand how to read a text within context is quite company. masons is that as things get tighter for us, it is easier for us to focus on things that authority been accepted, published, reproduced and in reproduced verses talking about those things that stand around them. i want to have a crowd cheer attitude because i want other things to happen, especially as a person working in field in which it is hard for even a majority of things that are recognized as literature in the fields to be recognized in other parts of the profession.
2:34 pm
>> i think what attracts me to that is, for example, they love talking about comics. anything is for this is seems to me. not just "moby dick." not just the scarlet letter or something like that. it's a way of linking of popular culture, historicism, eerie, psychology. again, i don't want to praise this guys either. it's kind of an interesting new movement and can you resist the older criticism. and yet, it allows you to talk in terms that cannot grow and all the troops and all of that. maybe you refer to a comic book. and also discussed caucus in psychology and the author in context as well. again, because u.s., as far as
2:35 pm
they can then, i am all for it the indian the canon, totally. i will say that doing research for this book, and came upon an ample novel about chasing it will. i said this is so exciting. i think it's called lessons for life. i read this and it was complete colesville. not an ounce of energy. if that is going on here? a very similar plot, similar kinds of characters. and i realized i was missing was when i talk about beneath the american renaissance. all those cultural energies, the old south was humor, the new religious style, the mystery darkness, all this kind of images woven into "moby dick." they were utterly lacking in the
2:36 pm
only word i can think of is flat. even though the narrative is quite similar. as i say, i think it's a lesson from life from the very exciting title. >> no wonder. >> is probably better than "moby dick." "moby dick" sold about 2300 copies. so i'm very much for opening up, but at the same time and i think, will of quaker city, working on an article now and i'm going through it. i've written two books, but it's taken me two months to reread the novel, which is so dead is full of interesting images. that is a book that should certainly be canonized. so much going on there. and yet, it is amazing to me
2:37 pm
they were getting together and doing articles on it. a lot of the things that we've been churning out, people referred -- prefer to do something else that even, what other, it seems to me there's a lot of richness that is allowed. emily dickinson herself was a complete skin under unknown when she died and the edition with all the punctuation corrected in the? titles but in poetry. she wasn't really known -- that was published shortly after her death until thomas h. johnson came along and found her in the library in 1935 and suddenly this complete unknown and people have this really great stuff. again, i don't want to necessarily make a hierarchy of text, but i will s

tv
Long- Term Unemployment Benefits
CSPAN December 8, 2013 1:10pm-2:41pm EST

Series/Special. A hearing on unemployment insurance. (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Whitman 12, John Brown 6, Us 5, Emily Dickinson 5, David Reynolds 4, Brenda 3, Abraham Lincoln 2, U.s. 2, Washington 2, Europe 2, John Browne 2, New York 2, Shakespeare 2, Dickenson 2, Frederick Douglass 2, Coulter 2, Lincoln Douglas 2, Moby Dick 2, Ende Avors 1, United States 1
Network CSPAN
Duration 01:31:00
Rating TV-MA
Scanned in Richmond, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel v109
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color


disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 12/8/2013
Views
42